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Pterosaur Track Show Bird-Like Landing
Pterosaur tracks show it touched down like a bird
New Scientist - 19 August 2009 by Colin Barras
A set of footprints unearthed in France is the first to show one of the winged
reptiles coming into
land - and suggests they did so in much the same way as most modern birds.
An exceptional set of footprints preserved in 150-million-year-old rock near
Crayssac in south-west
France holds some answers to pterosaur behaviour. They record the moment a
came into land, says Kevin Padian at the University of California, Berkeley.
Padian's team says the prints are similar to those produced by a landing bird.
pterosaur tracks show the animals walking on all fours, the first prints in the
tracks are of the rear limbs only.
That's because the pterosaur used its wings to "stall" as birds do, says the
team, so that the
animal's body swung up from a horizontal flight position to near vertical,
enabling it to land gently
on its hind feet.
In Proceedings of the Royal Society B
(Unfortunately the DOI link at the bottom of the article doesn't work)
GIS / Archaeologist Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj